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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

Pennsylvania could support four more ethane crackers, report says

Pennsylvania has the capacity to attract up to four more ethane cracker plants because of its abundant reserves of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and its proximity to major markets for plastics feedstock, a report released by Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said on Tuesday. The report from the consultant IHS Markit projects that more petrochemical companies [...]

Sunoco rejects township’s attempt to block valve for Mariner East 2

Sunoco Logistics rejected an attempt by a Chester County township to block construction of a valve for its Mariner East 2 pipeline, saying the project is a public utility that may not be regulated by municipalities. West Goshen Township in the western suburbs of Philadelphia wrote to the company last month denying it permission to [...]

Consultant’s report endorses safety of Mariner East 2; critics unmoved

Public debate over the safety of the proposed Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline was fueled with the publication of a consultant’s report endorsing Sunoco Logistics‘ plans on one section of the line in Chester County, while critics said the report failed to address what could happen if there was a leak. The report by [...]

Town declarations highlight public-safety worries over Mariner East 2

Some communities in Philadelphia’s western suburbs are reflecting public concerns over the proposed Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline by issuing official statements saying that the $2.5 billion line could endanger public safety. Eight townships or boroughs along or close to the route in Delaware and Chester Counties have published resolutions or proclamations as [...]

Friends and foes of Constitution Pipeline await appeals court ruling

Nine months after heavily armed federal marshals patrolled a tree-cutting operation for the proposed Constitution Pipeline on a northeast Pennsylvania maple tree farm, the pipeline’s builders and its critics are awaiting a court ruling that may determine whether the project can proceed. The Williams Companies is appealing a decision by New York State that denied [...]

Energy Hub vision challenged by Rinaldi’s departure from PES

The Philadelphia Energy Hub, a grand idea that was always longer on rhetoric than reality, took another step back this week when its leading advocate said he will retire early next year as chief executive of the East Coast’s biggest refiner, Philadelphia Energy Solutions. Phil Rinaldi, dubbed “fossil Phil” by environmentalists for his aggressive promotion [...]

New fracking reports clash over effects on health, environment, climate change

A long-running fight over whether unconventional oil and natural gas development harms air, water and human health entered its latest round with the simultaneous release of reports from both camps claiming accumulating evidence for their arguments. Two groups of physicians on Thursday released their latest compilation of scientific studies, government and industry reports, and journalistic investigations [...]

Pre-election report says any fracking ban would hurt jobs

Any federal ban on fracking for oil and natural gas would cause fuel prices to surge, leading to job losses, higher electricity and gasoline costs and an increased cost of living, especially in top gas-producing states like Pennsylvania, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a report issued on Friday. Four days before the presidential [...]

Supporters of One Call reform lament passage of ‘bare minimum’ bill

Supporters of a bill to improve protections for underground infrastructure such as gas pipelines criticized the passage of a watered-down version of the measure that extends the current law for a year without building in more safeguards. Senate Bill 1235 passed the Pennsylvania legislature on Wednesday, preventing the current law from expiring as scheduled on [...]

EPA steps up pressure on FERC over new pipeline assessment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accused the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of failing to fully address climate change in its assessment of a new plan to build a natural gas pipeline through three states including Pennsylvania, adding a powerful new voice to claims that FERC takes a permissive approach to gas-industry projects. The EPA [...]

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